Is It Over?

by: Chris Bowers

Wed May 07, 2008 at 02:38

I am finding myself resistant to the way this nomination campaign appears to be ending, mainly because there is no logic to it. All of the arguments that could be used by the punditry to declare the nomination campaign over could have been used really at any point since Wisconsin. For some reason, those arguments appear to be sticking tonight, whereas they weren't earlier. According to the logic that ends the campaign tonight, there was no reason to torture us for the past two months, except to damage Democrats for the sake of damaging Democrats. I guess I should have learned by now that that is reason enough.

The Clinton campaign will probably slog on in some form, as Ben Smith indicates. After all, she is going to win West Virginia, and maybe Michigan really won't have a single delegate for Obama. Or something else absurd that won't happen. However, the truth is that the Clinton campaign has been kept alive by inaccurate and arbitrary media rules that now seem to have arbitrarily shifted against her. Survival in that environment will prove extremely difficult indeed. Live by the arbitrary media narrative, become irrelevant by it. The nomination campaign seems to have outlived its usefulness to the national media.

Just keep in mind that even though, for once, the media narrative seems to be turning in a way that will be helpful to Democrats and progressives, as an institution it is fundamentally oppositional to our goals. We may be getting lucky with it right now, but that is only temporary. It is a singular victory, and not part of a larger pattern or positive trend.

This is an open thread. What do you think will happen tomorrow?

Chris Bowers :: Is It Over?

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Is It Over? | 50 comments
Logic never was a factor (4.00 / 3)
It was and has always been the media narrative. The media has finally turned on her, and with it the fundraising will hurt and the supers who were on the fence now no where they will go.

The media is in the business of selling a story and they decided to close this chapter.

Sometimes I think we spend too much time battling right wing nuts, and not enough time focusing on the true obstacle - the corporate-controlled media.

typo (0.00 / 0)
no should = know.

Tired hehe...

[ Parent ]
Has the media turned on her? (0.00 / 0)
The headlines I am reading suggest that the media is interpreting today's results as a fundamental tie and assuring us that this lovely race will continue. Does this story lack the popular viewing appeal that it had 2 months ago? Not really, nothing has changed and everyone (besides progressives) loves a bloodbath.

Let's pray the arbitrary and illogical media has decided this story isn't worth following anymore. Frankly, I'm sick of the "shame on you, Barrack Obama" and agreement with McCain moments.  

[ Parent ]
Hard to say (0.00 / 0)
With her inability to spin anything (she has cancelled all appearances), it will look pretty bad with Obama running rampant with his spin. Also, the media is fucked up because their narrative is no longer valid, with Fox saying Clinton won (but with no affect, as no Democrats besides a few radical Clinton supporters watch Fox), CNN is waffling and saying it's still a tie, but sometimes saying she lost, and MSNBC doing the opposite, saying she lost, and then sometimes saying it's still a tie.

My prediction is that this will end with the media turning on Clinton, especially because they will be talking about Obama's appearances/speeches tomorrow, but not Clinton's, and so he will have a more driving impact on the media narrative. Hard to guess that, and I wouldn't bet any money on it.

Former Edwards Supporter, Obama Supporter since January 30, 2008

The media has no more excuses! (4.00 / 1)
They have to admit it. Chris the hourglass has run empty!

They threw the kitchen sink, and it didn't work (4.00 / 10)
I think it may be the failure of the crazy reprise of Wright circus, and the kitchen sink barrage in general of the past few weeks to really have any effect at all. Of course, you could say the same thing of Penn. if you're looking at all rationally at the race as a whole or the longer-term trends, but the dynamics here went the other direction, and Obama closed well instead of Clinton, and rather more surprisingly considering how much distress he was in just a few days ago. And really the Wright looniness not hurting him significantly in places like IN and NC is pretty important and reassuring in terms of his strength as a candidate and lingering worries about racism hurting his chances. Not that we should ever have gotten anywhere near this point to begin with, of course, but here we are.

Maybe in their narcissistic way the media think they have "tested" him by going along with all of this crap, and now he has finally definitively passed. Or maybe they'll decide tomorrow morning that he actually had to win 15,000 more votes in Indiana to "pass" and off we will go again. I dunno, any speculation is pretty much just that, because this whole thing has been so unmoored from reality for so long that it's hard to even talk intelligibly about it at all anymore. I hope to hell it's over in all senses now, and that the shambling zombie that is this race finally stays down for good, but I'm sure not letting go of my shotgun just yet.

I think you called it (0.00 / 0)
The media caste was waiting to see if three weeks of 'bitterness' and Rev. Wright spectacle would open a bottomless pit beneath Obama's candidacy.  Instead, he's weathered these distractions tolerably, making steady progress toward cinching the nomination.

But yes, the shambling zombies. Get ready.  

As Chris noted, with the coming Clinton victories in West Virginia (and Kentucky)there will be plenty of fresh brains to eat.

USA: 1950 to 2010

[ Parent ]
in essence (0.00 / 0)
Russert is conceding the Media's defeat in the primary.  He is  ALLOWING Obama to be the nominee.  It kind of reminds me of a "right of passage" ceremony.  We haze you, and if you can weather it, then we'll accept you.  

[ Parent ]
Ha,ha (0.00 / 0)
That's about right.

[ Parent ]
Well, there is this... (4.00 / 3)
In answer to your question 'why' this time and not after, for example, Wisconsin, from Ben Smith (emphasis added):

Matt Seyfang, a former campaign delegate counter who tracks this stuff for us, e-mails over his estimated margins: Clinton +2 in Indiana, Obama +17, net +15 for Obama.

Seyfang writes:

   Lake is still out, but I'm assuming the 1st goes 4-2 for Obama based on surrounding counties that Clinton won. He won't break the 70 percent he needs for a 5-1 margin. The statewide assumes a 2-point margin for Clinton, still a big question mark with Lake out.

   What's interesting if these numbers hold is that this assures that Obama will win a majority of the 3,253 pledged delegates [excluding Florida and Michigan]. He's now at 1,494. Under this set of numbers, he picks up 101 for a total of 1,595. A majority is 1,627, so he's 33 short. If you assume he makes threshold in each of the remaining 24 districts for one delegate and then picks up at least one PLEO and one at-large in each of the 6 remaining contests, he's at 1,631. The battle for the majority of pledged delegates is over.

Ben Smith - Seyfang's estimate: Obama gains 15 Politico 7 May 08

This is a narrative that would help the media explain it's way out of the credibility dilemma you have noted.  We'll see...

"The 70 percent for a 5-1 margin"? (0.00 / 0)
Yikes, "former campaign delegate counter" Matt Seyfang.  Yikes.

[ Parent ]
Dude, he's not a mathematician (0.00 / 0)
Give him a break, we almost nominated a candidate who didn't know enough math to realize she had lost the race... this guy is just a delegate counter!  

[ Parent ]
Media Is Searching For Their Narrative (0.00 / 0)
With the GOP strategists leading the way.  The 2 Repubs on CNN's panel were propping up Hillary's campaign, while the "non-partisan" "experts" nodded sagely about how tonight was a "wash".  We'll see how it ends up playing out, but my feeling is that the next 2 weeks will be just like the last 2.

She'll continue... (0.00 / 0)
...but it's over.  He should stay clear of of Kentucky and WV, congratulate her for her "hard-earned" victories there, and campaign in Oregon and other states that matter in the GE.  That will make her look irrelevant, as if he's just letting her have the states.  The media narrative is set, and she can;t catch him.  

Just let her play it out and she'll have to concede after Oregon.

no I think he should stick to his (4.00 / 7)
principle that every state matters, and make it a very public point of integrity to campaign throughout Appalachia.

[ Parent ]
It Is Over Now Because (0.00 / 0)
Hillary has to get out for 2012.  If she leaves now, the party will forgive her and her excesses.  If Obama loses, she can try again in 2012.  Stay in beyond tonight, her entire career is over.  She will be the junior senator from New York until she resigns or dies.  Leave now, there is still a chance to be President.  Not to mention the fact that fundraising is going to dry up.  I think she announces Thursday after a lot of call on Wednesday.    

2012 is delusional, if she were to think that. (4.00 / 4)
She'll never be the nominee of the Democratic Party.  We will all behave with practical graciousness the rest of this year, but nobody will ever forget what happened here.  All the king's horses...

[ Parent ]
Let's Be Clear (4.00 / 1)
I would never vote for her in a primary.  And I think you are right, her chances are slim at best in 2012.  But it what she thinks, not what you or I think.  And four years is a long time.  Four years ago, I shook the hand of a thin state senator who I believed was too nice and too humble to go anyhere in politics.  I called my wife after meeting this fellow at a fundraiser and said: "Gee, this guy is great, but he is too decent to ever be President."  I was wrong about that.

[ Parent ]
Agree, but there is a difference (4.00 / 6)
between being too decent as a bar to office and being too widely loathed as a bar to office.

In 2004 when I first heard she would be running, I dismissed the idea she would be nominated (and especially elected President) in about 0.03 seconds.  I have never reconsidered.  I never understood why those Charmin-soft national polls during 2007 were bought into by any sentient being.  I spent November, when Obama was at his nadir in the polls, trying to get moneyed friends to get the greatest deal ever in Obama's absurd longshot odds on Intrade and make big bets.  Maybe I'm an anomaly, but I never thought it was a possibility Obama would not beat Clinton in this race, and not just because I thought Obama was a great candidate.  I have taken for granted that you cannot, ever, nominate a candidate who 50% of the country hates and will never ever vote for.  That was just Republicans before this year.

She would have been the shittiest President.  Not in a Bush aggressively evil way, but in an aggressively poll-testedly uninspiring way.  It would have been 4 years of trying to convince the 5% she'd need for re-election that they were wrong about her.  It would have been the violent video games and flag burning ban Presidency.  A Grenada would have been found to bomb.  There was a reason she used to say health care "by the end of my second term."  Because she knew she wouldn't have even tried her first term.  She'd have bluffed it as a bargaining tool to get other concessions from Republicans in Congress.  That's why Obama always says health care "by the end of my first term," by the way.  Because Clinton wasn't going to get it done in her first term.  Shit, she had a re-election to win!  I think as anti-matter is to matter, Hillary Clinton is anti-leadership to leadership.  She has done literally nothing, no signature accomplishment whatsoever in the Senate.  Why would she ever risk such a move by showing leadership on an issue while in the Senate?  It was always nomination-by-name-recognition-and-machine-favors.

Sorry for the rant, just because it was a reply to your comment doesn't mean I am saying this specifically to you, just getting it off my chest.

[ Parent ]
First, I will miss your primary night diaries (0.00 / 0)
now that this is over.  Second, no need to be sorry for the rant.  Hillary has abused us and the party.  My mom, my wife, my daughter and I have all had our anti-Hillary rants.  It is a natural reaction to abuse. Third, I cannot stand Hillary--she lost me with her war vote in 2002 and her absolute refusal to fuss up.  I was an Edwards pledged delegate in 2004 and I jumped ship to Obama before Iowa because he blew me away and I figuered Obama had the best chance of beating Hillary.  I have maxed out on Obama.  I gave $500 to Edwards after going to Obama just so that she finished third in Iowa. But having said all of that, there is a segment of the party that likes Bill Clinton. And woman Democrats (understandably) were excited about Hillary. Hillary is the first woman to ever win a primary or a caucus.  So, if she mends fences she may have a certain base of support in the party.    

[ Parent ]
First, I will miss your primary night diaries (0.00 / 0)
now that this is over.  Second, no need to be sorry for the rant.  Hillary has abused us and the party.  My mom, my wife, my daughter and I have all had our anti-Hillary rants.  It is a natural reaction to abuse. Third, I cannot stand Hillary--she lost me with her war vote in 2002 and her absolute refusal to fuss up.  I was an Edwards pledged delegate in 2004 and I jumped ship to Obama before Iowa because he blew me away and I figuered Obama had the best chance of beating Hillary.  I have maxed out on Obama.  I gave $500 to Edwards after going to Obama just so that she finished third in Iowa. But having said all of that, there is a segment of the party that likes Bill Clinton. And woman Democrats (understandably) were excited about Hillary. Hillary is the first woman to ever win a primary or a caucus.  So, if she mends fences she may have a certain base of support in the party.

One other thing: Obama's humbleness and decency is why he will be a great President.  My judgment was all messed up by the Clinton years and the us against them stuff.  I had become a hostage to the Old Politics.  I watched Obama's Iowa JJ speech three times--it totally blew me away    

[ Parent ]
Dude, you are an anomaly (4.00 / 2)
Second time I call you "dude" in the last 1 hour... and for the record, also probably the second time I've called anyone dude in the last 1 year! The beer from the Obama victory party is gone from my blood so it must be the politically-induced elation that's still around.

I contributed my first $250 to Obama in March 2007 and heck, I thought it was a long shot. I've learned that it's counterproductive to apply logic in an attempt to predict the behavior of illogical individuals.

If Colbert has thought us one thing it's that facts have a liberal bias and Hillary has already told us that liberals clearly do not support her.

For the record, she was the last Democratic nominee I would have supported but still certainly above any Republican... after she talked about obliterating the country my father lives in (and presumably my father with it), I decided I would have to recuse myself from taking part in her would-be catastrophic presidency.

[ Parent ]
Wonderful post. (0.00 / 0)
I don't necessarily agree with you. Even if I mostly agreed, I wouldn't see it as the near-certainty that you apparently do.

But, in an admittedly hyperaggressive way, your post summarizes nicely the concerns many Democrats harbored re a Hillary Clinton presidency.

In the end, her unfavorables were a bit too high to overcome against a strong opponent.

[ Parent ]
Oh, all Presidential Candidates (0.00 / 0)
are like the lead character in The Six Senses.  Everybody else knows they are dead before they do.  Generally, lack of money forces them out even when they are still in denial.  But here we had a mass delusion that she could win and so Clinton got money far longer than anybody else would have.

I'm not sure why you're ignoring the supers (0.00 / 0)
at some point back in March, the nomination was put entirely into the hands of the superdelegates. Clinton would have to convince them. Of course we all know her path was nearly impossible. But if she had won PA and IN by, say, 12, and kept him to 6-8 in NC, the supers would have started to cry. Then he starts to plummet in new national and state match-up polls, and her road starts to flatten out. Huge wins in WV and KY, and a surprise win in OR, and she's rolling downhill. A blowout in PR, close contests in MT and SD, together with even better national polls and a favorable ruling on FL and MI, and she could have broken through. The possibility existed before tonight, and it doesn't now. That's the "nothing" that changed.

In a dryly academically theoretical way, sure. (4.00 / 2)
But that was never going to happen.  The supers were never undecided, just undeclared.  What happened was Clinton ratched up the toxicity with her "Shame on You, Barack Obama!" approach she adopted.  That toxicity spread through her supporters, and many supers then saw it as a negative freeroll to declare his or her decision in the face of such toxicity, even though there was always a 0.00000% chance of the supers destroying the party by denying the guaranteed pledged delegate winner the nomination.

Obama built the best organization in American political history and had most pledged delegates, end of story as of mid-Feb.  It was all endgame from mid-Feb.  What changed was the Clinton camp's willingness to polarize and the media ate that shit up, and the supers froze their declarations, not their decisions.

The reason it is "arbitrarily" over as of tonight per the media is that you could see it all over Bill and Chelsea's faces, they know what is coming in the way of supers after this, and all the media knows it too.  Camp Clinton has exhausted itself trying to intimidate and freeze supers into silence, and even that only had marginal success.  You could see it on their faces that the very last of it was used up on every super who could be restrained before now.  That's the open secret, and that's why Russert, could be so definitive.

[ Parent ]
yes, I agree that (4.00 / 1)
most of them froze their declarations, not their decisions. But I also think that there was always a good deal more than a zero chance of overturning the "will of the people." All it would take is for Obama--or any front-runner--to be hit with a liability or scandal that makes him or her toxic. Wright could have been that event. It was clear even last week that he wasn't. But the results tonight are conclusive proof for the supers.

[ Parent ]
Face Reading (0.00 / 0)
I don't think I share your talent for reading faces.

I admit trying to read them during Hillary's victory/concession, but I couldn't quite tune them in.  Just looked like the usual phony baloney.

I did have the thought that Chelsea was cold to her dad, but figured I was projecting.  

I also wondered what was going to happen to the toddler, in mic range just to Hillary's right, that was yelling in counterpoint to her delivery of bromides.

USA: 1950 to 2010

[ Parent ]
It is logical, but it wasn't about the math (0.00 / 0)
The reason this is considered over now, as opposed to two months ago, is because now the media thinks that it's Clinton who "can't close the deal."

This race has gone on long after the math indicated that it was over, because the media saw the endgame differently.  It was;t who reached the magic number first; Obama was obviously closer by that metric.  It was about whether or not Clinton could take Obama down to clinch to nomination.  Clinton has spent the last two months on the attack, and with the media's help re:Wright, the attack reached a peak two weeks ago.  And what happened?  Clinton failed, and Obama won bigtime.  So, now the media thinks that Clinton can't bring down Obama, so that means he's the nominee.

Exactly right. We should never, ever forget ... (4.00 / 6)
...that the megamedia as an institution is fundamentally oppositional to our goals.  

interesting anecdote (0.00 / 0)
Even the Hillary supporters I know on facebook are talking about local elections, not spinning her.

I think the way in which she lost tonight really hurt her.  It started out looking like a wash, but then the vote numbers in Indiana kept spiraling down for her until it became clear that Obama had mounted a "come-back".  That's an even stupider, less fair and more arbitrary metric than what bothers Chris, but, like you said, live by the MSM . . . .

Narrative (4.00 / 2)
Jerome was arguing that post wright changed everything for example.  And look, it turns out it didn't change a thing.

I think he was staking his entire rationale for clinton based on that and he was entirely wrong.

The fundamentals never changed, but Hillary supporters argued that they had.  It took obama regaining momentum for them to realize that.

The liberal wiki
Send an email to

And just to clarify (0.00 / 0)
He was mocking the people who thought obama was going to get double digits in NC as living in a pre-wright world.

The liberal wiki
Send an email to

[ Parent ]
No kool aid (4.00 / 1)
for him.

[ Parent ]
Looks like no paycheck either n/m (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
since you asked ... (4.00 / 2)
then why is Obama's lead good enough now, when it wasn't good enough before Pennsylvania?

Because a 6-run lead in the 9th inning isn't the same as a 6-run lead in the 2nd!

Full Court Press!

Signed, sealed, delivered (0.00 / 0)
It is all over but the shouting.  Is Hillary a uniter or a divider? One this is sure, Obama is the nominee.  

Anyone else... (0.00 / 0)
Anyone else feel like we have been fighting in a big war and we can see the peace treaty and cease fire coming soon?

Looking forward. (4.00 / 1)
The race has been over for about three months. Now that pretty much everyone understands this, what's next?

1. Obama will pop at least a couple points in the matchup vs McCain polls. The conventional wisdom will quickly become "Obama = small favorite". Obama runs better from ahead. Remember the gnashing of teeth when he was behind Clinton in Fall 07? How he was having trouble "drawing clear distinctions" with Clinton? Brand Unity (tm) works eons better when you look like a winner and aren't tempted to go direct-negative on your opponent.  

2. We will hear more about McCain's criticism of Obama. We will therefore soon know much more re the nature and effectiveness of said attacks.

3. Will there be hard feelings from large swaths of the Dem Party resulting from this tight primary contest? I have no idea. From the historical examples of 1980, 1984, and 1988, it seems possible but doubtful.

4. I think the Wright issue has been largely defanged. I'm not 100% sure about it, but here's what I do know - people respond to news, of which a key part is the word "new". If there is no new info re Wright (please, no)...

Another reason the media narrative is changing (4.00 / 1)
With the primary campaign moving to just a handful of states, most of which are small- or down-market for advertising, the MSM will decide to move back to a broader audience which is Obama vs. McCain. Advertisers just don't care about Kentucky and Puerto Rico and figure that most people don't either. The media is in business to deliver audience, not content (or democracy for that matter). And they see the audience for the Dem primary as a diminishing return. What's the new narrative for drawing audience? I would expect more identity politics: black vs. white, old vs. young, vet vs. peace advocate, etc., etc. Whatever draws audience.

Save Our Schools! March & National Call to Action, July 28-31, 2011 in Washington, DC: http://www.saveourschoolsmarch...

You are partially wrong ... (0.00 / 0)
the TradMed would love to go to PR(and like Chuck Todd last night .. have admitted as much) ... warm weather and beaches .. the rest of the places .. not to much

[ Parent ]
LOL n/t (4.00 / 1)

Save Our Schools! March & National Call to Action, July 28-31, 2011 in Washington, DC: http://www.saveourschoolsmarch...

[ Parent ]
Pull the damn bandaid off already! (0.00 / 0)
From what I've been reading - last night and this morning - speculation seems less about if this the end for Clinton, and more about how exactly this end plays out.
I've been a little shocked at how many folks - I'll pick Chuck Todd for example - are fully and openly declaring this over, but also suggesting that Hillary will continue (in full knowledge of this) for the next two to four weeks.  This was the crux of the argument between Olberman and Maddow last night, where Rachel seemed to think that a campaign already running on "post-rational" fumes would not be getting out, and Keith thinking that this was an evening that even the Clintons could not ignore.  
But can anybody construct for me a reasonable basis for the Clinton campaign to continue for the next month - when even they seem to be recognize that ultimate victory is out of reach?  Some folks seem to envision waiting until Kentucky and Oregon, so that both candidates can finish up on a high note.  Some seem to think a victory in West Virginia will allow Clinton to bow out gracefully.  But are we really entertaining the notion of continuing this just so Clinton folks can feel better about things, or that she can raise enough money to pay off debts?  And while a massive victory in Kentucky may make some feel better about themselves as candidates, how does a massive drubbing of our presumptive nominee in two or three upcoming states help the party as a whole?  What is so hard about graciously suspending one's campaign - with class, dignity, concern for the party? One more month is too much time to cede to John McCain.
While the press looks ready to move on from coverage of the Democratic Civil War, we'll probably only exchange this for 24/7 coverage of Hillary Watch!  Either way, McCain gets to continue talking quietly to his uncertain base about which barbarians he will put on the Supreme Court.
In short, pull the damn bandaid off already!

remember ... (0.00 / 0)
McCain got his ass kicked in a few states(and in Washington state .. they rigged it in McCain's favor when it was obvious he was going to lose) after he became the presumptive nomineee .. and does anyone talk about any of that now? .. besides .. if Obama really believes in the 50 state thing .. he'll go to both KY and WV .. and probably cut into her lead anyway so it will be more like PA

[ Parent ]
it's over when Barrack gets 2025 (0.00 / 0)
Until I see Clinton conceding on television, I'm not believing it's over. She'll find some new straw to grasp at today and head on to West Virginia to unveil Tonya Harding Strategy 2.0.

What changed for the media is 2 things:

1. There aren't any more big states left so even the likes of Chris Matthews is now able to grasp that the math for Clinton is impossible.
2. For once, Clinton played the expectations game terribly and grossly underperformed her and the media's expectations.

What needs to happen now is for the superdelegates to realize no new meaningful information will be gained between now and June 3 and it is time for them (especially those that are for Obama) to step forward and make their preference known. The voter part of this race is over. Obama has won that part. We're now in the superdelegate phase and if they want to win in November, it would behoove them to get the race over with as quickly as possible.

another perspective (4.00 / 7)
Having been a Clinton supporter, I'd like to offer a different perspective on why it's over now.

First, I think it's a mistake to overestimate the role of the MSM.  I'm sure it's in their collective interest to have the campaign go on (and this would be true of a Republican campaign as well), but it's also in their individual interest to be right and to be right first.  In my mind the reason that the campaign has gone on as long as it has is because Clinton has a very large and committed group of supporters who have firmly believed she would be the better president.  You may disagree with them, you may think they are delusional, you may think they are crypto-Republicans.  They are, however, primarily registered Democrats who have given their time and money to the campaign and voted in very large numbers.

The fundamental fact is that we have a 50-48 national lead for one candidate at record or near-record turnout levels in almost every state.  This is unprecedented.  Clinton has had a infinitely better case for continuing to the convention than any previous losing candidate (ie Kennedy).

It is my personal feeling (speaking for myself, but see also Todd's post on mydd) that things changed last night for Clinton supporters more than for the MSM.  To me, the possibility of winning the national popular vote was a necessary condition for continuing.  (The rules, I know, the rules: think how you would feel if your candidate won the popular vote and lost because the other candidate had gamed the rules more effectively...I'm sure you can think of an example.)  I would have been comfortable with the superdelegates overturning an undemocratic result.  Last night was, for me, when that possibility came to an end.

Two more words:
First, this is made easier for me by the fact that I have been increasingly distressed by the Clinton campaign, not so much by attacks (the Obama campaign's attacks on Clinton, which you may perceive as merely pointing out the truth, have been far more devastating), as by the focus on electability, which I consider a false issue, rather than policy.  I do however think that the bulk of the white working class vote for Clinton was not based on racism but on the fact that she convinced this demographic group that she took their problems seriously, and Obama did not convince them of this.

Finally, I believe very strongly that Obama is a far stronger candidate today than he was in January.  Partly this is because I think he's better off with a lot of this junk like the Wright flap being "old news" when the GE comes around.  I also feel he's learned a lot about when to try to stay above the fight (always his instinct) and when to enter the melée.  Most importantly I believe that both campaigns have attracted new voters, new donors, and new activists to our party, and this is to everyone's good.

Psychology (4.00 / 4)
Chris, it seems to me like you have such a strong emphasis on data and numbers and policies and measurable facts that you won't accept that many other people just don't operate that way. In terms of pledged delegates, I haven't seen anyone in the media who hasn't pretty much said that was over, barring Michigan and Florida issues. But given that it has also been a given that the nomination couldn't be locked up by pledged delegates, the Democratic nomination stopped being largely about a race for pledged delegates and became a story about persuading superdelegates.

Once a story becomes about persuading a relatively small group of people whether or not to do something, hard numbers become less relevant and psychology becomes more important. As Chuck Todd pointed out last night, after Pennsylvania, popular vote with Michigan and Flordia was an open question, and a potentially powerful case with superdelegates. But the surprising strength of Obama's margins tonight unexpectedly closed off that possibility. While Obama has the same absolute margin he did before PA, there are fewer voted left to count. That's why 19,000 votes was enough of a margin to call Indiana at 96% of the vote counted but 40,000 wasn't enough at 85%. That's a factual change that matters to the psychological story.

Also, beyond the superdelegates, Clinton supporters still believed enough in the possibility of a come from behind win to keep donating. Is that purely rational from a numbers POV? Probably not, but since when is supporting a candidate a purely rational-from-a-numbers-POV decision? Todd Beeton at MyDD has a post up explaining that before tonight he thought Clinton had a chance, and now he doesn't. I'm sure he's not the only one, and I doubt you could argue that he's simply bought megamedia spin. MSNBC's coverage suggested to me that last night's results would have a definite effect on her fundraising - which is another factual change that's going to resonate with superdelegates and other supporters. (The news that she doubled down her loan to the campaign may not help either, unless it creates another come-to-the-rescue drive from the small donors.)

One final point: even if the final results resemble the poll results, final results are always going to be more definitive than poll results. Especially this year, when looking at poll results had many folks - me included - convinced that this thing was gonna be over after New Hampshire.

Two Things (0.00 / 0)
IMO, what has happened is two-fold:

1) There are no question marks left.  Nobody has any doubts about how the rest of the primaries are going to play out.  Hillary will win WV, KY, and PR, Obama will win OR, MT, and SD.  Delegates will be so close to a wash as not to matter.  Popular vote isn't going to change significantly, either, just not enough people left to vote.  These contests may be done pro-forma, to give those states the same organizing boost the others have gotten, but they aren't really going to change things no matter how vigorous the campaign.

2) Some significant chunk of SD's, probably including a bunch that have already endorsed Clinton, laid down a set of rules that included double digit wins in PA and IN.  If she didn't get them, they were going to Obama.  So once it was clear that Obama was finishing strong and not "backing into" the nomination, her last argument for the SD's was exploded.

Because of (1), the media has no way to generate drama from this anymore.  Because of the rumors of (2), they realize that the SD's are going to close this out, and the only question left is how it will be managed in order to mend fences.

Also (0.00 / 0)
Although much has been made of Obama's "White Working Class problem", that he loses that block 60-40, last night Hillary did worse with blacks than George Bush did (7-8%).  The Democratic party cannot afford to have a "black problem".  That has to be sending shockwaves through the supers.

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Is It Over? | 50 comments

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